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Tech review: Apps for summer music fests

Screen grab from Bandsintown, one of the apps

Screen grab from Bandsintown, one of the apps that let smartphone users know where bands will be playing locally.

Summer music festivals are amazing events for good times and good tunes. Before heading out, download this helpful pack of mobile apps to make sure your smartphone is fully outfitted.

 

Bandsintown Concerts

(iOS, Android; free)

This app's developers aren't kidding when they claim to "live for live music." Bandsintown is a fantastic starting point for learning which bands are in town. After the app pinpoints your geographic location, you can sync your social media and music accounts at Facebook, Rdio, Spotify, Pandora and/or Last.fm. Bandsintown recommends shows based on your listening habits and pre-existing music preferences. You can also track specific bands and manage your concert RSVPs by syncing with your calendar.

 

WaterIn

(iOS; free)

Unfortunately, WaterIn is only available on iOS devices. Fortunately, those who rock at festivals with their iPhones can download this beneficial and refreshing app. Its premise is pretty simple: WaterIn monitors your water consumption and reminds you throughout the day to drink water. Since many festivals occur during the summer at parks and outdoor venues, staying hydrated is extremely important. WaterIn keeps track of your intake by the glass or bottle, making sure you drink eight glasses per day.

 

First Aid

by American Red Cross

(iOS, Android; free)

While we're discussing safety, make sure to download First Aid. Festival crowds can get rowdy, and there are often a limited number of first aid tents. The American Red Cross' app shows you what to do in case of minor and major medical emergencies, such as heat stroke, asthma attack and others. The app demonstrates proper care for those in need of attention through step-by-step directions. Of course, if you or a friend gets thrashed in the mosh pit and first aid isn't enough, you can call 911 from within the app.

 

Hype Machine

(iOS; $3.99)

Based on the popular website of the same name, Hype Machine is the only app on this list that isn't free. Available only for iOS (though it has a near-identical Android counterpart in UberHype for Hype Machine), this app is most useful for more astute festival attendees during their band research phase. Sure, you can use Spotify to check out new releases, but Hype Machine goes the extra mile by aggregating mp3s of the most talked-about music from top-tier music blogs.

MessageMe

(iOS, Android; free)

After you nab a front row spot but before the sea of energetic festivalgoers crashes up behind you, you'll need the best group messaging app for all that humble bragging. After MessageMe verifies your phone number and you connect with friends, you can send non-SMS texts back-and-forth. If you're confident in your smartphone's sound-recording capabilities, you can record a snippet of a band and directly share the audio clip. You can edit photo texts with doodles and stickers while sending your location, videos and more. -- Appolicious.com,

Tribune Media Services


Roads scholars

 

Planning a car trip this spring or summer? You probably know it's illegal to drive and talk on a cellphone without a hands-free device in New York. But what about the rest of the country? To check out all state laws before you hit the road, go to bit.ly/DOT-distracted on the U.S. Department of Transportation's distraction.gov website.

 

Follow the trend

 

You know what you're searching for, but do you know what the rest of the world is searching for? Google has unveiled Top Charts (google.com/trends/topcharts), which it says are "lists of real-world people, places and things ranked by search interest." Among the wide range of listings are charts for actors, retailers, sports teams and animals, where, sorry, cat lovers, "dog" is top dog.

 

PayPal targets in-store payments

 

EBay said its PayPal service will be available in 2 million retail stores this year as it amps up efforts to become a payment choice in physical stores. Customers would use PayPal via smartphone app or by typing in their phone number at the checkout kiosk. PayPal is trying to expand beyond its core email payment service by competing in the burgeoning market for payments via smartphones. -- Peter King

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